According to Doncaster Free Press, Middlesbrough are among a host of clubs chasing young defender Cameron John, who is currently plying his trade with Doncaster Rovers in League One, on loan from Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Teessiders are joined in their pursuit of the 20-year-old by Premier League clubs Leicester City and Crystal Palace, with the youngster’s impressive displays in the third-tier putting a number of clubs higher up the football pyramid on red alert ahead of the January window. (h/t Doncaster Free Press)
John is out of contract at Molineux in the summer of 2020, however, as per the report, Wolves have the option to exercise a 12-month extension clause to keep him at the club until 2021.
As per the report, the versatile defender has played down talks regarding a potential switch to a different club during the mid-season trading period in January, insisting that he wants to focus on his loan spell at Doncaster Rovers.
However, that hasn’t stopped some of the potential suitors from keeping close tabs on his progress in the third-tier, with only three weeks left to run before the transfer window reopens.
Middlesbrough have been mentioned as a possible destination for the highly-rated starlet, although their position at the bottom of the table in the Championship means that they could have their work cut out in convincing the player to move to the Riverside Stadium.
John, who started his footballing education at Southend United before completing a move to Wolves back in 2015, is yet to earn his senior professional debut for the Black Country outfit.
However, he is currently working wonders in his loan spell at Doncaster Rovers in League One, having previously featured for Wolves’ academy side in the EFL Trophy last season.
John made a bright start to his loan spell at the Keepmoat Stadium, establishing himself as a regular starter under manager Darren Moore before an ankle injury suffered towards the end of September thwarted his progress and sidelined him for 11 weeks.
The talented defender, though, has returned to action for Rovers in recent weeks and put in a standout performance in the 1-1 draw against MK Dons in League One at the weekend, whilst also grabbing his third goal for the club in all competitions.
As per Whoscored, Cameron John averages 3.4 aerial duels, 2.9 long balls, 1.4 tackles, 1 interception and 3.9 clearances per game in League One this term, figures which lie testament to his rapid development in his loan spell in the third-tier.
To put things into perspective, Middlesbrough are crying out for reinforcements at both ends of the pitch as they look to avoid the ignominy of relegation to the third-tier, and Cameron John has all the makings of coming through the door at the Riverside Stadium as an excellent long-term prospect.
Boro climbed up to 19th in the standings with a 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic at the weekend, steering themselves four points clear of the relegation zone with that positive result.
However, their position in the second-tier still remains very much under threat and Jonathan Woodgate could have his work cut out in guiding the club to a respectable finish at the end of the season if the desired level of consistency isn’t achieved in the coming months.
As evident from a tally of just 17 goals scored in 20 games, lack of firepower up top has been one of the major reasons behind Boro’s lacklustre run of results in the Championship this season.
To that end, though, the defenders, too, haven’t really been at the top of their game this season, with the Teessiders already shipping as many as 27 goals in the ongoing campaign.
As a matter of fact, that mediocre defensive record isn’t the only concern for Woodgate moving forward and there is certainly a lot more to add to the manager’s problems, with defensive mainstays Daniel Ayala, George Friend and Ryan Shotton all out of contract in the summer of 2020.
With new deals yet to be finalized for either of the aforementioned players, question marks continue to linger over the future of the club’s backline, and that is one of the main reasons why a potential deal for a talented up and coming defender like Cameron John could be an excellent piece of business for Middlesbrough in January.
The 20-year-old still has his best years ahead of him as a centre-back, and notwithstanding the fact that he has never played in the Championship before, there have been obvious signs to suggest during his loan spell at Doncaster that John is more than capable of making the step up to the second-tier in the near future.
Of course, his versatility to play as a left-back could go a long way towards providing Woodgate with some valuable cover in multiple areas across the backline.
Furthermore, the Wolves prodigy certainly fits the transfer model of bringing in young and developing players put forward by the club under Woodgate.
Boro splashed the cash on young talents like Marc Bola, Anfernee Dijksteel and Marcus Browne this past summer while the promotion of academy prospects Hayden Coulson and Stephen Walker to the first-team also suggests that John could be the next gem at the Riverside Stadium if he arrives.
All in all, Middlesbrough’s interest in Cameron John certainly makes perfect sense for a number of reasons.
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